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Becoming Pounded Yam

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In our #WisdomWednesdays series we share Yorùbá òwe or proverbs from Prof. Oyekan Owomoyela’s Yoruba Proverbs. Some of the òwe can be read here.

As you know our mission is to encourage creative expansion. One way to choose to do that is through the expression of African thoughts in an African way. We show each òwe in both N’Ko script and in the latin script. Below we offer our interpretation. Share yours with us on instagram or email us!

Today’s proverb:

Isu parada o diyan, agbado parada o deko
Yam changes its state and becomes pounded yam; corn changes its state and becomes steamed corn meal. (People and things can change for the better)

And so can you.

As we reflect on these proverbs, it is often most deeply felt as we reflect upon ourselves. That may seem obvious, but in the allure of a foreign, long awaited wisdom, we can almost take the owe at face value. We can say “wow, that’s deep,” and permutations of this, and still forget that it is about us the entire time.

That is not to be taken solipsistically of course, but our perceptions determine our reception of the external world. Would you agree? With this owe or proverb, let’s focus on our self, our inner artist and work on becoming the pounded yam. Changing our own state for the better.

Business people will refer to it as continuous improvement/continuous development. They’ll say you being 1% better that you were yesterday will result in your being 37 times better than you were a year after you started. And we believe it!

However, we prefer to think of continuous improvement as Becoming Pounded Yam. Here’s Roy Ayers, saying the same thing.